(Stock price updated and analyst's commentary added.)
PLEASANTON, Calif. (
) -- So it turns out that shoppers
still shopping; they're just apparently all heading to
The off-price retailer saw its second-quarter profit nearly double, sending shares up more than 3% to $46.07 in afternoon trading.
During the quarter, the company earned $103.4 million, or 84 cents a share, compared with $71.3 million, or 55 cents, in the year-ago period.
Sales also jumped 8% to $1.77 billion from $1.64 billion, while total same-store sales inched up 3%, driven by dresses and shoes.
Stifel Nicolaus analyst Richard Jaffe attributed the sales increase to the company's ability to quickly turn inventory, "giving the company more flexibility to take advantage of closeouts available in the market."
"Additionally, we believe that the fresher, faster-turning inventory contributes to a more exciting and rewarding shopping experience for consumers," Jaffe wrote in a note on Thursday.
He expects inventory levels in the second-half of the year to remain low, which could allow Ross to buy some premium merchandise during the back-to-school and holiday seasons.
Ross chief Michael Balmuth indicated as much in the company's earnings release.
"We are optimistic about the important back-to-school and holiday periods for a number of reasons," he said. "We delivered exceptional sales and earnings growth for the first six months on top of strong results the prior year and are up against much easier comparisons in the second half. More importantly, we are well positioned in the value retailing sector and excited about our merchandise offerings and the availability of great product as we enter the fall season."
Looking ahead, the company expects third-quarter earnings between 57 cents to 63 cents a share and fourth-quarter earnings in the range of 88 cents to 94 cents. Management also upped its same-store sales forecast for both quarters to gains of 5% to 6% each, from a prior forecast of a 2% to 3% increase.
For the full year, the company expects earnings of $3 to $3.12 a share.
Earlier this week, rival
and a sales gain of 4% to $4.75 billion. But unlike Ross, TJX released a weaker-than-expected outlook for the fourth-quarter, which includes the holiday season.
-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York
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